What would you do with an extra $33,000? A variety of answers may come to mind when faced with this question, and it may take you a little while to settle on an answer; if you were UK businessman Conor McCloskey, however, you would have no problem answering right away.
Recently, McCloskey was at an international rugby match when he passed a group of volunteers rattling a charity bucket. He stopped long enough to find out that the volunteers were raising money for Elliesgoody2feet Foundation – which had been established in an effort to raise 40,000 British pounds (more than $60,000) to fly Ellie Jury to America for a pioneering operation. You see, Ellie suffers from Spastic Diplegia – a form of cerebral palsy that forces her to walk on her tip toes – and this operation would significantly correct the problem, putting her in a position where she would be walking flat-footed by the time she began school the following year. The problem Ellie’s family and friends faced, however, was that they imagined it would take about a year just to raise the money – and that was if everything went just right. What they did not bank on, however, was meeting Conor McCloskey.
Once McCloskey found out what the money was being raised for, he asked how much more they needed to raise before they would reach their goal. Upon being informed they were still 21,000 pounds (more than $33,000!) short of the money they needed, McCloskey opened his checkbook, and he provided them with the remainder of the balance.
While some would call McCloskey’s actions those of a hero, he prefers to shy away from this label; he said, quite simply, that he and his wife have two nine-month-old boys, and he cannot imagine them suffering from this same problem. As he put it: He was in a position to donate and help give Ellie a better chance in life, so that was what he did.
Ellie was able to fly out almost immediately, visiting a specialist clinic in Missouri – and now that she has had the operation, she is having physiotherapy five times a week in order to help her walking. She is expected to be walking fully…by the time she starts school next year!
McCloskey may not consider himself a hero, but Ellie Jury will grow up knowing who he is, and knowing what he did for her. And surely, if you were to ask Ellie twenty years from now, she would tell you that Conor McCloskey is a hero to her.